The Cronkite School gives freshmen a head start with free hard drives

Cronkite officials distribute external hard drives to Cronkite freshman to help students succeed in today's multimedia heavy fields

Due to the increase in social media, students are entering a new generation in which they are required to know all forms of media to be competitive and successful at their future jobs.

Freshmen at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication were recently given Blackbox Plus one-terabyte external hard drives as the school's way of supporting this year's incoming class on their journey throughout the program. 

Mark Lodato, associate dean of Cronkite at ASU, and Christopher Callahan, the founding dean of the school, were the leaders in this movement to support the freshman through all four years of their education and said they are always looking for new innovative ways to help their students succeed. 

The plan is for each future incoming class from now on to receive the hard drives when they begin at Cronkite.

Lodato said that it was Callahan's decision to start this program and he tasked Cronkite's IT team with finding the hard drive that would be able to hold the most information for the best value. 

Callahan was also able to make a deal with the hard drive's company GLYPH to offer students a four year warranty rather than the usually two or three year warranties that the company offers.

He said the reality is that, in today's advanced social media world, external hard drives are becoming increasingly more important and that it will help the Cronkite class of 2022 be more successful as journalists throughout their entire Cronkite career, not just their freshman year. 

“As the need for hard drives became more and more apparent over the course of a students' time at the Cronkite School, we decided we should include this as a part of their experience when they walk in the door,” Lodato said. 

Although the goal of this project was to help the students better their future in the program, some freshman were confused about what the hard drives were for and where the money was coming from. 

For example, some thought the technology fee was an extra charge to their account. However, the fee is used to pay for equipment throughout the entire four-year program. 

Students were called to the front of their introduction to journalism classes to collect their hard drives and then sent to their next class without any description as to why they were being handed out or why the students will need them during their time at Cronkite. 

“There was really no further explanation to why we have them and I don't know when I'll use it or how I'll use it,” freshman journalism major Milan Andrade said. “It's kind of confusing as to why I need it."

The Deans decided that giving the students these hard drives freshman year allows them to start their very own digital portfolio at the very beginning and use them outside the classroom.

“Our students don't need it first semester freshman year for history of journalism class; (however), a lot of our students are in extracurriculars such as The State Press, Downtown Devil, Cronkite Cut, The Blaze you name it," Callahan said. "So they can actually start using this for the extracurriculars.” 

Overall, he said buying the hard drives for the students also insures that they will be the right quality, size and speed for students to succeed in their programs and endeavors, and will also alleviate costs for students.

“We wanted to make sure they got their Cronkite experience in the strongest possible way,” Lodato said. 

Reach the reporter at and follow @Kellyarichmond3 on Twitter. 

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